Race and prostate cancer

Healthwatch

All men are at risk of developing prostate cancer. It’s the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

Researchers say race plays a role after diagnosis. 

Hugh Hargett had trouble tackling the diagnosis of prostate cancer. He says, “I couldn’t eat. I probably lost about 45 or 50 pounds.” 

Dr. Daniel George with the Duke Cancer Institute says, “One in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.” 

He says even though there’s been a decrease in prostate cancer cases, too many lives are still being lost.

Dr. George adds, “Death from prostate cancer is at an all-time high – 29,000 deaths a year in the U.S.” 

He says African-Americans are at a greater risk for developing the disease. 

Dr. George says, “And they are at a 2 ½ times greater risk of dying from prostate cancer. Should we be treating these patients differently?” 

Researchers at Duke Cancer Institute studied both African-American and Caucasian patients treating both groups with a drug called abiraterone.

Dr. George says, “We saw a better response in the African-American population then the caucasian population.” 

Now they want to understand genetically why these patients do better. 

Dr. George says, “Can we use that information to treat them even earlier and maybe cure some of these guys?” 

Hugh has been on the chemotherapy drug for two years and found out his cancer is in complete remission. 

Now he believes it is possible to beat cancer but he knows there are no guarantees.

Dr. George says it’s not the skin color that’s important. It’s the genes associated with skin color that can affect treatment response. 

Hugh will continue to stay on the chemotherapy even though that study has concluded. 

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